Thursday, December 9, 2010

Happy Birthday, Jane!

“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife. “ Sound familiar? It’s the opening sentence in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice; and, according to The Bedside, Bathtub, & Armchair Companion to Jane Austen, a clever compendium of Austen trivia by Carol Adams, it's possibly the most imitated sentence in English literature.

Fans of the English novelist, and there are many of us, (the Wall Street Journal reports that Ms. Austen counts roughly 89,000 fans on Facebook), will want to celebrate December 16, which marks Austen’s 235th birthday. The Library has Austen’s six major novels: Sense and Sensibility, Mansfield Park, Pride and Prejudice, Emma, Persuasion, and Northanger Abbey, in print and film adaptations, as well as an early novella-in-letters, Lady Susan. For those interested in the domestic details of Austen’s life, I recommend Jane Austen’s Letters, edited by Deirdre Le Faye. And for those desiring a peek at Austen’s romantic side, the Library has the movie, Becoming Jane (2007) starring Anne Hathaway.

And now, a question for all devoted Janeites: who’s your favorite contemporary author, writing sequels to Austen’s novels?

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